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How painfully to me true is your remark that no one has hardly a right to examine the question of species who has not minutely described many. Hooker did not mean it as a criticism of Darwin as he quickly explained in his next letter but the exchange took place just before Darwin started on the barnacles and he probably realized the truth in Hookers words whether or not they were meant for him. Darwin was not hesitant he was busy. He did not delay twenty years he was working. Only when he wrapped up the work from the voyageand established himself as an expert on an entire taxonomic groupdid he then return to the species question. Not long after he did a letter arrived that turned his world upside down. Out of the Blue Darwin was still a long way away from publishing his big species book when a package arrived on June 18 1858 from Alfred Russel Wallace a naturalist working in the Malay Archipelago modern-day Malaysia Indonesia and the Philippines. Wallace spent five years collecting in the Amazon before ending up in the Moluccas or Spice Islands and he too had read Malthus. As a result of his own observations he had reached the same conclusions as Darwin on the origin of species. In early 1858 half-crazed in the grip of malaria Wallace wrote a twenty-odd- page paper entitled On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type and posted it to Darwin for his opinion. When Darwin read it he was stunned. Although there were important differences Darwin wrote to Lyell If Wallace had my MS sketch written in 1842 he could not have written a better abstract. Darwin did not know what to do but Lyell and Hooker took charge and arranged for Wallaces paper to be presented along with an extract of Darwins 1844 essay and part Darwins monograph on living barnacles. 29